Bolt hard to open 243 WSSM


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BGD
May 4, 2014, 10:28 PM
I have an A-bolt in 243 WSSM. The first rounds I Loaded for it with 40grains IMR 4350 with 100 grain Sierra game kings caused the bolt to be stiff to open. 40 grains is a starting load. The brass is Winchester loaded once from the factory. I wish I had chronograph, but I don't think they were over pressure. what would cause the bolt to be hard to open? Do you think the brass could be soft?

Forgot to mention I neck sized the brass only. I did not full length resize.

thanks.

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gamestalker
May 4, 2014, 10:53 PM
Not to nit pick, but it's called a bolt, as in bolt action.

Regarding your issue, considering this is presenting on the first reloading of once fired brass, it's very likely a high pressure related issue. But just to rule out other possibles, I would make sure the chamber is clean and free of any build up or rough spots. Also clean the lug recess's, and the lugs.

Here is a way to help diagnose whats going on. Take a fired case that caused significant resistance when opening the bolt, don't resize it. Smoke the case head, shoulders, body, and the neck with a candle. Then chamber it, extract it and look for the areas where the soot has been rubbed off, that will be the problem area, or areas. Once you've identified where it's tight, it will then be easier to identify the cause.

GS

BGD
May 4, 2014, 11:02 PM
It's a typo, trying to type on this ipad:) I will try the candle thing, but I already neck sized the brass.

Thanks:)

243winxb
May 4, 2014, 11:43 PM
Is your data for a Sierra game kings or other bullet brand? The difference in bullet construction and bearing surface has a direct effect on pressure. http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/FirearmsReloading102/PressureSigns.jpg

BGD
May 4, 2014, 11:48 PM
The starting load from Sierra is 40.5. In the hodgdon data it is 40 with a Speer bullet.

243winxb
May 5, 2014, 12:05 AM
I looked at the Hodgdon data too. Maybe check the web diameter of a fired case to SAAMI? http://www.saami.org/specifications_and_information/index.cfm?page=CC Loaded round maximum over the web is .555" Chamber is .5583" max. So if your fired case web is .556" to .558" your up there in pressure. Its possible neck sizing is a problem with such a high pressure cartridge? FL size and bump the should back .002" see it it makes a difference on the next loading.

witchhunter
May 5, 2014, 12:13 AM
As everyone has said already, it sounds like a pressure problem. Could it be that you are seated into the lands? Make a dummy, mark it with a sharpie and chamber it. As Gamestalker said, it will show where it is too big. Load one at 39 grains and see if that helps.

BGD
May 5, 2014, 01:12 AM
I am not sure what the web is but the fattest part of the case is .556. I measured some factory loads after firing and they are .556 also. This was a spot about 3/16 of an inch up from the top of the rim. I may be close to the lands I need to check this. The cases chamber without any problems.

243winxb
May 5, 2014, 01:32 AM
Try full length sizing to see if the web measurement gets smaller. Then shoot a few with the same load, see what happens.

steve4102
May 5, 2014, 01:48 AM
As everyone has said already, it sounds like a pressure problem. Could it be that you are seated into the lands? Make a dummy, mark it with a sharpie and chamber it. As Gamestalker said, it will show where it is too big. Load one at 39 grains and see if that helps.

I'm going to agree with this.

I have a 25 WSSM and it has a very short throat. Seat your bullets 30K deeper with the same powder charge and watch the stiff bolt lift go away.

gamestalker
May 5, 2014, 03:49 AM
Good catch Witchhunter, I completely forgot to mention the oal possibilities that can drive pressures up. So as WH said, if you are close to the lands, or into them, pressures can be driven up very significantly. I've seen already developed loads that were operating at very normal pressures, and then suddenly jump to red line pressures, simply because the oal was increased to .010" off the lands without reworking the charge.

GS

BGD
May 5, 2014, 11:14 PM
Thanks for the help. I am going to seat one .030 deeper and see what happens. Hope to try it this weekend. Do you think i damaged any brass with high pressure?
thanks again:)

9X23WIN
May 6, 2014, 12:14 AM
I had a Winchester 70 Stealth in 243 WSSM and had a hard time opening the bolt too. In my instance, the cases had to be full length sized in order to solve the problem.

steve4102
May 6, 2014, 09:16 AM
I am going to seat one .030 deeper and see what happens. Hope to try it this weekend. Do you think i damaged any brass with high pressure?

I doubt it, if the primer pockets are still tight, then no, if they are loose, then yes.

ironworkerwill
May 6, 2014, 10:52 AM
I had a Winchester 70 Stealth in 243 WSSM and had a hard time opening the bolt too. In my instance, the cases had to be full length sized in order to solve the problem.

I've done a good bit of work with the wssm family. The above answer is most likely your problem. The brass, being shorter than the wsm family, is difficult to resize. If your brass is nickel plated it will be more difficult still. If the shoulder does not bump back enough after sizing the subsequent load will make for stiff extraction.

You have stated that you've started at the correct starting point. I do have a caution: This brass has a thick head and you will be over pressure before the pockets loosen up. Do not go beyond the max charge without being very cautious in your approach. The factory wssm ammo is loaded close to the edge of max pressure. There is a small case volume and not much room for error.

spitballer
May 6, 2014, 06:37 PM
I'm inclined to agree that the cases should be started with a full-length resize before being used in a different chamber. Try ejecting the round before firing it to see if it's still snug.

scottishkat
May 6, 2014, 06:58 PM
I'm inclined to agree that the cases should be started with a full-length resize before being used in a different chamber. Try ejecting the round before firing it to see if it's still snug.


Agreed totally. If the brass was fired in a different firearm I always full length resize. If you have any of the once fired try to chamber it. You're at minimum for 100 gr. My 257 WBY will get stiff bolt lifts on light loads.

Good luck and shoot straight

Bob

BGD
May 6, 2014, 10:38 PM
I loaded 1round tonight at 40 grains imr4350 100 g GameKing neck sized. Seated bullet .030 deeper. Chambered the round and it fit very snugly. I am using these in the same rifle they were fired in. Looks like with the 243 WSSM the shoulder will need bumped back. Tomorrow night I will fire this round and see how stiff the bolt is and start bumping the shoulder back a bit. Just to clarify that the bullet is not against the lands. The snugness appears to be from the case itself.

With full length resizing what was your case life like in the 243 WSSM?

thanks for the advice:)

ironworkerwill
May 7, 2014, 11:23 AM
With full length resizing what was your case life like in the 243 WSSM?



I got some busted necks on the 2nd loading of the non plated and new 50ct bag of .25wssm brass. After annealing the rest, they are still good at 6 full length resizings.

The nickel plated never cracked. I did try to anneal some of them but I can't really see whats going on as the nickel hides the heated area. I scrapped the lot because I'd be guessing at what was going on. I don't really care for plated rifle brass but others do. YMMV

klausman
May 7, 2014, 03:24 PM
2 additional items to check are case trim to length - are the cases stretching?
and is the neck getting so thick that that there is not enough clearance to release the bullet? I know - run-on sentence and bad punctuation. Take a fired case and see if a bullet will slip into the neck before resizing.

minnesota
May 7, 2014, 09:05 PM
I have a 243 wssm in a model 70. The factory loads are hotter than the max loads for the data out there. I would full length resize them, and then shoot. After that then you can neck size them a couple of times and go back to full length, etc... I usually check them after their second firing and see if they chamber without a lot of effort, if they don't, then I full length resize them. I forgot to do this once and one of my reloads had a hard extraction. If you are getting smoke on your case shoulder there is not enough pressure to open the neck initially, ( they have extremely thick necks). This would tell me to try either a higher charge (not over max), or try a faster burn rate of powder. By the way mine likes reloder-19 with 100 grain bullets.

BGD
May 7, 2014, 10:21 PM
I fired that single round tonight. It went in tight and came out about the same. I think I will run the rest of the cases through the full length sizer and see what happens. Then try neck sizing.
thanks for the help!! It is great to learn from others experience.

steve4102
May 7, 2014, 10:37 PM
^^^
By this are your telling us that the Hard bolt lift from "High" pressure is gone with the bullet seated 30K deeper?

BGD
May 7, 2014, 11:40 PM
It did seem like the bolt was not a stiff as before. The stiffness that was there was from the case being tight in the first place? I just now FL resized them and they chamber much easier. Just need to load them up and try them. Could be that I was too close to the lands.

I just looked for the heck of it for some 243 WSSM brass and midway, nachezss, cheaperthandirt don't have any.

steve4102
May 8, 2014, 10:16 AM
Nobody has any WSSM brass. Hope Win didn't discontinue is't manufacture?

BGD
May 8, 2014, 09:09 PM
I hope they haven't discontinued them also. The only thing that keeps me hoping is that there is not much of any brass to be had.

Poper
May 8, 2014, 09:49 PM
Could be that I was too close to the lands. The WSSM family of cartridges are some pretty strange ducks. The dimension driving the COAL is the room in the magazine and as a result, the COAL is quite short. Accordingly, I have found my .223 WSSM (Browning A-bolt II) and my .243 WSSM (Winchester M70) both have very short throats. I cannot load very far past the book COAL before I begin to engage the rifling with most bullets. It is very easy to load 'em a little long and jam the bullet into the lands.

FWIW, my browning doesn't feed for beans from the magazine regardless of cartridge length. OTOH, the Winchester feeds rounds like greased glass. Go figure... :scrutiny:

BGD
June 8, 2014, 10:44 AM
I loaded up 20 rounds to try with the bullet seated .030 deeper in the case. The bolt lift is still a little stiff, but the case slides right out. Do you think I still have a pressure problem? should I try seating even further into the case? I noticed factory Winchester loads are seated quite deep.

thanks

fguffey
June 8, 2014, 11:56 AM
I wish I had chronograph, but I don't think they were over pressure. what would cause the bolt to be hard to open?

WSM, Winchester Short Magnum, a short/fat little case. The powder column is shorter than etc. The powder column is larger in diameter than etc., and for those two reasons I can only guess rleoaders believe the two difference have no effect on pressure.

From the beginning reloaders have struggles with everything like heavy bolt lift to the inability to size the case back top minimum length/full length sized,

And now I can not find the part where you were neck sizing. Neck sizing is a time factor thing. I reduce pressure by full length sizing, I also reduce pressure by refusing to seat the bullet into, near or off a few thousandths from the lands, because I am the fan of the running start, I want my bullets to have the 'jump start', do not get me wrong, I believe a lot of methods and techniques are cute, it just seems a case that causes the bolt difficulty in opening is trying to tell me something.

Tell me something? That is the reason I measure new cases before and again after firing, then again after sizing. Neck sizing, I was informed I was dealing in some risky stuff, rather than disagree I contacted Hodgdon, I explained what I had built, the cases, case forming process, powder and bullet and all the rational that went with my plan.

Hodgdon said ( I had already formed 40 cases) not a problem for all the reasons given but do not use the data for a starting load, the data could be beyond the maximum safe load after the case has been formed.

F. Guffey

The bolt lift is still a little stiff, but the case slides right out

Your case has jump back, snap back, memory or spring back, if the bolt is heavy to ligt the case filled the chamber, locked the bolt and did not remember what is was before you pulled the trigger.

All of my bolts have a cam back meaning when I lift the bolt the bolt moves back by design, when the bolt moves back it pulls the case back with it 'unless' the case has been hammered, the expanded case locks the bolt. After the bolt handle has been raised the case is no longer locked in the chamber, but if it is there is a chance the extractor can jump the case rim and or tare off a chunk, then it is possible the bolt will open with the case still locked in the chamber.

Correction" WSSM, not WSM. That makes it shorter and fatter.

BGD
June 8, 2014, 12:10 PM
I should have mentioned. These rounds were full length sized. 100 grain sierra gameking and 40 grains IMR 4350. Winchester brass and WMR primer.

ironworkerwill
June 9, 2014, 01:18 PM
ONE more tip. When you think you have FL sized enough, screw the die down more.

I am a HARDHEAD and I thought it was the same as .308 or 30-06...it's not.

If you are off the lands and it fits in the mag your good.

Sunray
June 9, 2014, 05:08 PM
"...difference in bullet construction and..." Means nothing. You load for the bullet weight, not who made it or its construction.
First of all, relax, you don't have a pressure issue. There is a bunch of info missing though. The brass fired out of your rifle? New? You can only neck size cases that were fired out of the same rifle. Anything else needs to be FL resized at least once.
This happening after firing or are you just testing the loaded ammo for fit?
Check the OAL and the case lengths. If you haven't fired 'em, you may be seating the bullets to shallow and they're sticking a bit into the rifling.
You ever have this issue with factory ammo? If not, it's not the rifle.
Go buy as much brass as you can. The marketing types think nothing of discontinuing stuff with no regard for their existing customers.

BGD
June 9, 2014, 07:54 PM
I have some factory rounds I will try and see if the bolt raise is stiff. Has been a long time since I fired it with factory loads.

bob4
June 9, 2014, 08:10 PM
Something you may want to try. I once thought my loads were causing a harder than normal bolt lift. ( Mossberg ATR)
Someone told me to dry fire and see what the bolt felt like. Guess what? Bolt was stiffer even after a dry fire. Same as if I was firing. Who knew:banghead:

BGD
June 9, 2014, 11:01 PM
It is stiffer after it s fired even on an empty chamber. It's a browning A-Bolt II. I don't think it is as stiff as after a shot but maybe that is part of it.

ironworkerwill
June 9, 2014, 11:58 PM
That's a good idea Bob. I know a Savage will cock on the bolts lift.

fguffey
June 11, 2014, 12:08 PM
ONE more tip. When you think you have FL sized enough, screw the die down more.

Or determine if the case was sized when the ram was raised, again, the WSSM and WSM cases are hammered when fired, hammering the case makes it stiff.

It is a good practice to measure the case length from the shoulder to the head of the case before firing, it is good to measure the length of the case from the shoulder to the head of the case after firing 'and' it is a good practice to measure the length of the case from the shoulder to the head of the case after sizing.

Me? I find it a complete waste of time to size cases that have been hammered. Hammering can be measured in thousandths, I have cases that have been hammered .008", the hammering caused the cases to require hammering into the shell holder with a very small ball peen hammer.

F. Guffey

ballenbrowning
June 13, 2014, 11:58 AM
I had the same issue with my a bolt 25 wssm. I was full length resizing just as I would with other climbers and the bolt was stiff after firing. Once I turned the sizing die down a 1/8 of a turn more than normal it seemed to fix my problems. Mine now chambers and the bolt opens normally after firing. I am also getting 1/2" moa with 100gr accubond. Hope this helps.
Brian

BGD
July 4, 2014, 12:46 PM
Went out this morning and tried some loads with 41.5 grains of IMR 4350 with sierra 100 grain gameking, WLR primer, and Winchester brass. This is the 4th reload on this brass. The first shot was a split neck. I quit and will pull the bullets from the remaining 19 cartridges and pitch the cases.

do you think I can use the pulled bullets? Are split necks normal after 4 reloads with the WSSM cartridges?

Thanks

ironworkerwill
July 4, 2014, 06:16 PM
You need to anneal the necks. Don't throw them away. Yes it is fairly normal w/o annealing.

BGD
July 4, 2014, 08:20 PM
Annealing makes sense. Can I push out these live primers or should I fire them first. I have pulled the bullets and emptied the powder. How often should the cases be annealed?
Thanks

NCsmitty
July 4, 2014, 11:03 PM
You should be able to reuse your bullets if you use a collet or inertia puller.
As you probably know, wssm brass is much heavier than most standard brass and you can work it hard by full length sizing.
The scarcity of the brass makes it important to take steps to salvage at every opportunity, and proper annealing should extend their life.
Just knock out the primers and reuse them later after annealing.
I've seen others complain about splits on wssm brass after a few loads, but they likely didn't anneal their brass. Just keep your loads middle of the road and the brass will last longer.
I reloaded 223 wssm for a while without issues.


NCsmitty

BGD
July 4, 2014, 11:57 PM
Thanks, I didn't know you could knock out a live primer. Worked great. I will anneal these cases and try them again. thanks everyone for all the help.

ironworkerwill
July 5, 2014, 09:07 PM
I made a post on the " when to anneal" thread where I mentioned after the 3rd firing.

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